Barnegat Leader

Barnegat Is Viable Contender in B South Field Hockey

Sep 21, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy PLAYMAKER: Midfielder Maddie Schleicher (13) is one of many returning players who raise optimism for Barnegat High School field hockey success.

When the field hockey season started a couple of weeks ago, new Barnegat head coach Jaime DiStefano was confident about her Bengals.

“We’re expecting to make a statement in our division this season,” she said at the time. “We have a junior-heavy team with a lot of history and chemistry when it comes to playing together. We have some players to watch.”

DiStefano had reason to be confident, given the fact her squad was returning all its players from last year’s 7-12 team, including a solid core of juniors who had played for former coach Trisha Winkle the previous two seasons. So far, Barnegat looks to be everything DiStefano had expected, as the Bengals jumped out to a 4-1-1 mark through the first six games.

With one senior on the crew – defender Alayna Galati – the Bengals already are a force to be reckoned with in the Shore Conference Class B South division. Behind a junior class of 11 players, many of whom are starters, Barnegat is in great shape for next season as well. But first, the Bengals want to take care of business this fall.

Leading the charge among the juniors are forward Shannon Schiverea, midfielder/defender Madeline Schleicher, midfielder Brooke West and goaltender Patricia Tanola. In addition to that core bunch, more juniors can fill the lineup in multiple positions, including midfielder Heather Dwyer, forward Madelyn Santorelli, defender Brooke Schmalz and midfielder/defender Faith Wolf. The rest of the junior crew includes forward/midfielder Saira Desai, defender Veronique Gleghorn and forward Mikenna Reiser.

Of course, the depth of the Bengals’ roster filters down into the sophomore class as well, which includes defenders Ashley Sojak and Alexis Osborn, midfielder Madison Neaves, midfielder/defender Lexi Jackson and forward/midfielder Haleigh Dengler. And beyond that group is a talented and deep freshmen contingent, including a pair of impact players in forward Ava Kennedy and forward/midfielder Julianna Cannizzaro, as well as defenders Kirsten Langan and Olivia Maschi, midfielder Nicole Schiverea, forward Jessica Notaro and goalie Madison Kubicz.

The Bengals kicked off the season on Sept. 5 with a 4-0 victory over Mater Dei, as Dengler and Santorelli each buried a pair of goals and Kennedy and West tallied assists. Tanola registered five saves for the shutout. The next day, Barnegat took on its first Shore Conference Class B South division foe of the season, Point Pleasant Borough, and dropped a tight, 2-0 decision.

However, DiStefano’s squad got right back to winning on Sept. 12 when it squashed division rival Lakewood, 9-2. Dengler and Kennedy each scored twice while Cannizzaro, Notaro and Nicole Schiverea each scored once – all in the first half. Kubicz played in goal and made six saves. Two days later in a 4-1 win over Donovan Catholic, Tanola made three saves while Kennedy scored twice and Shannon Schiverea added another and Schleicher delivered a pair of assists.

Following a 1-1 tie with division rival Lacey on Sept. 15 – during which Dengler scored and Schleicher had the assist, but the Bengals were thwarted by an opposing goalie who made 24 saves – Barnegat rebounded with a 3-1 victory over Keyport on Sept. 17, as Shannon Schiverea fired in two goals and Dengler added the other.

The Bengals will be on the road against Manchester on Sept. 24 and Point Borough on Sept. 26, before returning home to meet Lacey on Sept. 28.

— David Biggy

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